Google Pixel 2 XL Review

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Google’s Nexus devices gave Android lovers the experience of a stock UI, in a time when producers and carriers have been forcing hefty custom skins and bloatware onto the devices that they sold. The Nexus phones saw their share of lovers by striking a fantastic balance between price and performance.

With a loyal user base already in place, Google decided to try out playing in the big leagues with an Pixel series this past year. This direction continues with the Pixel two and Pixel two XL, though Google is taking slightly different design procedures this time round, which makes for some interesting differences between the two.

The Pixel two XL is that which we need for review today, and it is the bigger and prettier of the two.

It’s also really hard to ignore all of the bad press this phone has received ever since it went on the market. We are going to keep an open mind despite multiple reports of all serious issues, and observe how they really affect our day-to-day use. We’ve got a whole lot to undergo, and prospective buyers have a lot to think about prior to making any final decision. Let us begin.

Google Pixel two XL design and build quality
The Pixel two XL seems great in the Only Black trim, however it is also possible to put it in Black and White, which is much more attention-grabbing. Google has employed a aluminium unibody chassis to the phone but there is no means of telling if you hold it thanks to the coating applied. This has its advantages and disadvantages. The matte finish on the Only Black version does not bring in fingerprints and offers a fantastic grip. Additionally, it will help hides the antenna rings. On the flip side, we personally miss the premium feeling of vulnerable glass and metal. The coating appeared fairly resilient to scratches in the brief time which we used the phone, therefore it will be interesting to see how it holds up after a couple of months of use.

The positioning of the volume rocker is ergonomic since it lines up nicely against your thumb (if you are right-handed), however, the volume buttons are a bit of a stretch. The SIM tray is set on the left side, and just takes a single Nano-SIM. The USB Type-C (USB 3.1, Gen1) port is put in the bottom, and is the sole physical interface.

You can find stereo speakers in the front – that the earpiece doubles up as one speaker, and there is another below the monitor. We even have a notification LED in the top right corner.

We finally get to the component which has everyone up in arms — the display. Google has utilized LG’s pOLED technologies, and in reality that the Pixel two XL is entirely made by LG. LG has utilized Gorilla Glass 5 with subtle curved borders on all sides. But if you look carefully, the display itself does not really bend – you will find sizeable black borders all about it to accomodate the curved glass. The 6-inch panel adheres to the 18:9 aspect ratio and also boasts of a compact 1440×2880 pixel resolution.

Coming to the issues that lots of consumers are facing, yes, we immediately noticed a blue tint when viewing anything on display from an angle (more on this later), and also the colors did seem dull (the reds and greens mainly). We have not struck the highly publicised burn-in issue however, so hopefully our review unit isn’t influenced by that.

On paper, this display promises 100 percent of this DCI-P3 color area. The double look of colors is due due to how the Pixel two XL’s display is calibrated to the sRGB color gamut, which has been done for “aesthetic” reasons. Honestly, aside from being jarring at times, this is something we can see ourselves finally growing accustomed to. Following a few days, we barely noticed the difference. Videos appeared fine provided that we were not doing a side-by-side comparison with a different phone, especially one like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 along with also the original Pixel which both have good screens.

The upcoming fix will make it possible for users to pick a different color profile, which should result in livelier colors. The burn-in issue is also being addressed too, and while there is absolutely no fix for the physical nature of the display, Google’s UI will auto-fade the navigation bar outside if not in use so that it isn’t likely to burn in, color match the pub to every programs’s color scheme, and fall the display’s brightness down from 50nits.

But, there does not appear to be some solution to this blue tint issue, as according to Google, that is “inherent in the display hardware”. Although Google claims that the blue tint is simply visible at sharp angles, but this simply is not the situation. Over the dull colors, this is always annoying, especially if you possess Night Light switched on. We do not think Google deserves a free pass here, even with all of the lengthy explanations it comes up with. No matter which way you look at it, the display on the Pixel two XL simply isn’t like people on different flagships.

Round the back, the glass patch is shorter so it does not cover the fingerprint detector like on the older model. The circular fingerprint detector is smaller this time also, but is equally as fast in authentication. You might even use it to pull down the notification color with a swipe down. As of this moment, it may simply be used to phone up Assistant and silence incoming calls. You may change the intensity of of the strain that is needed so that you do not accidentally trigger it if holding the phone or taking it from you pocket.

The quality of the accessories is extremely great, plus they sense long-lasting.

Google Pixel two XL specifications and attributes
Google has gone with Qualcomm’s best present SoC, which is that the Snapdragon 835. Sensors include a barometer, hall sensor, gyroscope, compass, and also the customary accelerometer and ambient light detector.

The Pixel two XL is IP67 certified for water and dust resistance, therefore it could survive being dunked underwater. Regrettably, the phone misses out on several flagship-level features like wireless charging along with also an HDR display.

The Pixel two XL (along with the Pixel two) introduction Google’s first in-house chip (with assistance from Intel) known as Visual Core, which is a dedicated image processor.

Google’s power has always been in software along with the Pixel two XL is the provider’s brand new vessel to flaunt this. It runs vanilla Android 8.0 out-of-the-box however there are a number of new additions to the homescreen, lockscreen, and launcher. Due to the pOLED panel, the Pixel two XL comes with an abysmal display attribute, which shows you that the time, date and unread notifications. But you can not interact with notifications on the lock screen like you can on Samsung’s present phones.

There is also a Currently Playing feature, which automatically recognises a tune playing in the background and also will show you its title and the artist in the bottom of the display. We tried it with hot English and Hindi paths and it functioned nicely for the most part, even though it could not recognise a few newer Bollywood monitors and failed at which there was too much background chatter. In general, it looks like a nice feature to have but is no substitute for dedicated programs like Shazam or even SoundHound especially when dealing with not-so-popular monitors.

There is also a brand new ‘At-a-Glance’ place near the top of your home display, which gives you the time, weather and other details like upcoming appointments from the calendar. This can’t be taken out of the homescreen. Thus far, just information from the Google Calendar program and traffic updates are being exhibited, but Google will soon be linking this to more programs in the coming months. The quick search bar was moved to the bottom, where it’s nearer to a thumbs. It stays put because you swipe across homescreens, and can’t be removed either. We covered the main attributes of Oreo as it established, and you are able to read all about them here.

Google Assistant functions as anticipated, and swiping right takes you to the Google Now display with pertinent news revealed to you in the kind of cards. Bundled programs include Google’s standard suite, also Allo and Duo. The Settings program has shifted quite a bit, and today, similar functions are grouped together. Some options can also be hidden from view, in order to give the program a simpler appearance. Gestures that are encouraged include a double-press of this power button to start the camera program, and a double-flick of this wrist from within the camera program to switch between the front and back cameras. Additionally, there are fresh live backgrounds known as Living Universe, which seem really cool.

The Pixel two XL is privy to a early beta of Google Lens, a brand new feature which uses machine learning to recognise items, street address, phone number, and so on, in the photos you have shot and gives you more information concerning these. Presently, this attribute is seen in the Photos program in the Pixel two and Pixel two XL but it will be added to the camera program and also to Assistant in the coming months. To get a beta product, it works decently well. When you are browsing through your photos, you will notice that the Lens icon just prior to the delete icon. Tapping it will bring up a little window in which Lens will present its best guesses of what is in the picture.

In our experience, it functions nicely with addresses and phone numbers (provided that they’re in focus). Lens properly identifies the details and offers you options to navigate to the location or phone the number directly, which is quite convenient. It even was able to recognise the species of several blossoms we taken, a kind of cat, and also the model of a car based solely on its profile. There were times when it failed to recognise items or simply gave generic descriptions of these. Its true potential will be realised after Lens comes to the camera, in which you are going to have the ability to see additional information regarding items in front of you, in realtime.

There is pretty much zero lag when multitasking or running hefty programs. The display’s touch reply is also excellent and even though it brings smudges, they are off easily. The display does not get really bright, but we didn’t have difficulty using it outdoors under bright sunlight.

Call quality is extremely nice and that the earpiece is loud enough even in noisy environments. The Pixel 2 XL functions nicely as a speakerphone too. We didn’t appear to have any audio issues with our unit, as many others have reported. The dialler program now has Google Duo integration, and you’re going to view a video icon next to every individual’s name. Tapping which will directly put a video phone to them via Google Duo. Shortly, you will also have the ability to switch from a voice call to a video telephone, mid-way.

The stereo speakers do a fantastic job her in separating noise but the quantity amount varies from program to app. For instance, we actually needed to calculate the volume when watching Netflix displays even in a relatively quiet area, but music streamed during Apple Music was quite loudly. We didn’t hear any distortion in high volumes and even though there is no serious bass, the sound is warm without resorting the tinny signature that many smartphone speakers have a tendency to possess. 4K videos perform easily, and now you can utilize picture-in-picture style with YouTube videos.

We advocated the first Pixels to lots of individuals, purely according to camera quality, and also the Pixel two XL is not any different. The Pixel two and Pixel two XL possess the exact same camera configuration, which is a single 12.2-megapixel sensor in the back and also an 8-megapixel, fixed-focus detector in the front. The back camera has an updated f/1.8 aperture and optical stabilisation (along with electronic stabilisation), which can be big improvements over the past year’s phones. The back camera also has laser and laser dual-pixel autofocus. Focusing is very quick under great lighting, and we almost never needed to tap to concentrate. There is also hardly any shutter lag, and photos are stored nearly instantaneously, even with HDR+ empowered.

Honestly, we could not find any significant difference between the 2 modes. Maybe with the Pixel two XL’s Visual Core empowered, we might see much better (and quicker) results in the long run.

Harness to watch full-sized Google Pixel two XL camera samples

Over the updated hardware in contrast to the first Pixel, it’s Google’s software magic that actually aids in achieving stunning pictures. Details are extremely great and color accuracy is spot on the majority of the time. Pictures possess a neutral color tone this time around, in comparison to the first Pixel which veered towards the warmer side. Low-light performance is quite good too and even though focusing speeds dip a little, it’s still quick. Noise is treated nicely, even though there is visible noise in arenas shot in very low light. On the flip side, you receive great dynamic selection.

The big new addition to the Pixel two XL’s camera program is a Portrait style. It functions exactly like it would on any dual-camera smartphone, just here, it employs the double pixels in precisely the exact same detector to evaluate the thickness behind a topic. Regrettably, you can not find a preview of this blur effect on screen when you are taking the photo, and you can not correct the intensity afterwards either. It takes about a second or 2 to get the result to be applied, therefore there is a bit of lag when you attempt to inspect photos you have just taken.

The Pixel two XL makes it right pretty much every single time, even in low light in which many double camera setups struggle or refuse to do the job. There are minor defects in the blurring process at times, but that holds true for nearly all smartphones with dedicated thickness cameras too. Since this is all software-based, Portrait mode functions even with the front 8-megapixel camera. Details are extremely great in low light, and skin tones are represented nicely.

Due to the combination of optical and electronic stabilisation, the ‘shimmering’ impact in video when you are moving is eliminated. Stabilisation works really nicely in low light, but video may find a bit noisy. In reality, we would say the microphones are a bit too sensitive, so if you are planning on vlogging that you might want to keep a fantastic distance between you and the camera in order for your voice isn’t too sharp. Recording modes include 1080p in 120fps/60fps/30fps; 720p at up to 240fps; and 4K in 30fps. Video quality is quite great in daylight, with powerful details and colors. Slow-motion video is also great. We wish the Pixel 2 supported 4K in 60fps, since this appears to be the upcoming big video attribute and is currently supported by the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

It’s possibly once of the easiest programs to utilize, which is good for novices, but a bit too constrained for power users. There is no manual or professional manner here, which we have seen in most flagship Android phones for many years now. The single degree of manual control you receive is the ability to lock the focus and exposure, and adjust the exposure and white balance. You can get Motion Photos, which means that the camera captures a couple of moments of video together with a still.

One benefit of having a massive phone is that you get a big battery. The 3520mAh battery continued us well over a complete day on a single charge, which is quite excellent. Substantial use of this camera will not make a sizeable dent in the battery life. Our HD video loop evaluation didn’t have an extremely impressive runtime as we were able to get only 12 hours and 43 minutes. But, we believe that this might be down to the pOLED panel along with also the QHD+ resolution.

Quick charging functions wonderfully about the Pixel two XL. We listed a 66 percent fee in 30 minutes, and 90 percent in roughly one hour, by an empty tank. The bundled adapter has similar output specifications as Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0-certified power adapters, nevertheless, rapid charging didn’t appear to function the we tried a third-party charger.

 

Google Pixel two XL in pictures

Verdict
With all these learnings from its first two Pixel generations, possibly the Pixel 3 might be an ideal Android device everyone expects for (you know, third time’s the charm). But that is in the long run, and today we’re dealing with a phone that costs Rs. 73,000 and has witnessed more issues within a couple of weeks of its release than many phones see in their entire lifecycles. Granted, a number of these issues could be fixed with software patches, and we are convinced Google is working on them round the clock, however, the experience has to be in a certain degree right from the beginning.

The display is definitely sub-standard – there is no 2 ways about that. The dull colors should be fixed shortly, however, the blue tint might frighten you constantly – it sure did with us.

On to the Fantastic stuff. So far as large-screen phones go, the Pixel two XL is one of the better ones we have lived with, largely due to its ergonomic design. It isn’t as eye-catching as any other flagships, however, the understated appearance will have its own share of takers. The no-frills Android experience might be a bit too dull for a few, but you are ensured timely software updates and security patches, which Android OEMs do not always prioritise. Then there is the camera, which is capable of some fairly incredible feats even with its single lens.

The Pixel two XL feels overpriced in India if you consider that it retails for $849 in the US (approximately Rs. 55,200). In the aftermath of all of these issues which have cropped up, Google is currently offering a two-year warranty for both its Pixel 2 devices, which is applicable here.

If you do not need to have an opportunity with the Pixel two XL (and we do not blame you), the Pixel two could be a much better choice. It has had fewer problem reports compared to its bigger brother and you also get rid of the 18:9 display, but it’s also less expensive while still offering the exact same fantastic cameras, hardware and software as the XL. Stay tuned to our review of this Pixel 2.

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